According to the latest figures from Drinkaware, 20% of Brits don’t drink. When you take into account the UK’s storied drinking culture, this seems like a staggeringly high number of people who’ve forsaken booze altogether. Yet, despite the rising level of sobriety amongst predominantly younger people, a great deal of anecdotal evidence suggests this can still be a particularly hard step to take.
Nowhere is this as evident as during social occasions which revolve around alcohol, such as Christmas and on stag weekends. As one writer points out for the charity Alcohol Change, sobriety at a stag do is “seen as a disruption to the dynamic of the event, the main purpose of which is usually to get as smashed as possible”. The reasons why people are choosing not to drink during stag dos are wide-ranging, whether to avoid being easily pranked, the desire to make the most of the experience (particularly if the stag weekend is abroad), or simply to save money.
But with more people swearing off alcohol altogether, there are plenty of ways to remain on the wagon and get as much out of a stag do as those who are in it for a boozy blur. Stag do organisers now offer a huge range of activities that cater to the alcohol-free—despite the first four options offered by stag specialists Maximise specifically revolving around drinking, for example, many are best (or most safely) done if you’re off the bottle. Here are a few of the best options.
One of the main reasons that eastern European cities make up over six of Europe’s top 10 most popular stag destinations area the area’s relaxed attitude to firearms. Shooting ranges have become massively popular for stag weekends, giving attendees an experience they’re unable to get at home. This offers the chance to use the kind of weapons you last thought about while playing Goldeneye, including real AK47s, M16s, and Glocks.
Of course, if you’re keeping your stag do closer to home and still want to get shooty, paintball and laser tag continue to be mainstays with the lads. In fact, it’s been reported by The Mirror that laser tag, in particular, has seen a near 25% rise in popularity with stag dos, in no small part due to the increased number of stags staying off the sauce.
Much like the allure of shooting real weapons, getting behind the wheel of something fast and furious is a big deal with bachelor parties—and an experience which is obviously not suited for attendees who are a few sheets to the wind.
Where the groom decides to have his stag weekend will ultimately depend on what driving activities you guys can get up to. Indeed, as one report on the state of the stag do industry notes, a booming number of revellers are more willing to travel out of their way for an experience they couldn’t get anywhere else. So while go-karting is always a popular choice, if you really want the chance to put the pedal to the metal, quad biking and monster truck driving have become particularly sought-after stag activities in the last few years.
A soccer surprise
Of course, nothing brings the lads together like a game of football and stag dos are the perfect time to take your love for the beautiful game to the next level. Some stag do companies even offer you and the lads the chance to play five-a-side with bona fide Premier League stars like Matt Le Tissier and Paul Merson. This gives you the chance to strut your stuff on the pitch, provided you don’t get too starstruck.
If you want something a little more out of the ordinary, though, bubble football might be more your tempo. Another five-a-side game, the twist is that all ten players are encased in inflatable zorb bubbles, letting you dive, slide, and bounce your way across the pitch without having to worry about getting hurt. Hardly the sort of shenanigans you’d want to be getting up to with a belly full of beer.